Sunday, October 09, 2005

Guns & Children

Here's a troubling article:
Five-year-old Jeff Jagels, of Bakersfield, Calif., is just starting school in Kern County, but he already knows what to do when he sees a gun.

And other 5-year-olds in his neighborhood are about to learn what Jagels knows, too.

"Stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult," is what the youngsters are told by cartoon character Eddie Eagle.
That's not the troubling part. This is:
Local emergency room doctor Art Kellermann has treated his share of juvenile gunshot victims. He’s skeptical of any plan that puts the burden on a young child to make a critical judgment about firearms.

“Nobody should trust Eddie Eagle to make their child any safer than before they took the program," Kellermann said. “Rather than try over and over again to gun-proof our kids, I think we ought to child-proof our guns."
Obviously, the key with the tapes is not to let people think, "Oh, gee, now I can put my gun down wherever I feel like!" The idea is for kids, in the rare case where there is a gun sitting out, to know to go get an adult, rather than act curiously and risk injury or worse. Perhaps many of Kellerman's patients would not have been patients if they had seen the video a few times.

There is nothing negative about having children see the tapes. I'm far more inclined to agree with the boy's father and the school superintendent:
Jeff Jagels' father thinks it’s a great idea.

“I realized that this thing is incredibly effective, and I became determined to get one into every kindergarten class in Kern County along with the accompanying teaching materials,” Edward Jagels said.

Jagels, who is the Bakersfield district attorney, is a member of the NRA and said he was astonished by his son’s reaction. His little tyke wanted to watch the videotape over and over again, and quickly repeated the instructions sung by Eddie Eagle in the cartoon.

Jagels thought the project was so good, he took it to the superintendent of Kern County Schools, who liked the idea.

“The fact that we're teaching a child not to touch a gun, to walk away from it, to tell an adult about the gun, that's going to make a child safer,” said Superintendent Larry Reider.
It's interesting how many on the left want kids to be required to learn about homosexuality at a young age; but when it comes to safety, ignorance is bliss. Sad.

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  1. How well does this gun safety cartoon work, really?

    There was an experiment about this on 20/20, I think. They instructed the kids not to play with a gun and to call an adult if they saw one. The kids repeated the instructions and the adult left the room. A gun had been hidden and eventually the kids found it. Some kids ignored the instructions and began playing with the gun soon after finding it. A few of the kids held out and told the other kids to stop playing with it, but eventually even these kids yielded. I've forgotten the exact age of the kids. Kindergarten or younger, I think.

    Just because the kids know what they're supposed to do, that doesn't mean they'll do it. Like many adults.

  2. Granted. But there's no harm in teaching them - as you said, some of the kids didn't want to play with it, and told the others not to. The more this message is directed to kids, especially in ways they can relate to, the better the odds those kids will prevail.

    In addition, most kids don't stumble on guns with a group of others, they do so on their own. Peer pressure would play a large role in a child wanting to be the 'tough one' who plays with a gun. The message reinforced by Eddie Eagle may get that child to look for an adult rather than play.